Season 15, Episode 6
Location: Central Square, New York
UPDATE: Karissa Hilts was killed in a hit-and-run crash in Florida on March 8, 2017. By all accounts she was sober at the time. Here is her obituary.
What’s Memorable: Despite her intimidating and manipulative behavior, Karissa is still somehow very likable. It’s not a mystery why she became an addict given her childhood traumas, but it’s clear that if she wasn’t addicted she would be such a cool person to be around. Also: That family diner has such personality, but it was disturbing to me what the non-family employees had to deal with everyday. I mean that’s a borderline abusive working environment, having to be witness to all that and pretend to not be affected. The idea that Karissa thinks she’s a ‘functional junkie’ because she gets up in the morning to go to work shows how deluded she is about what “functional’ means. Leaving work to go lie to the doctor in order to get Suboxone and immediately selling it for 10 bags of heroin and then needing people to stay up watching you all night with an overdose kit at hand because they’re afraid you’ve taken too many benzos with your heroin and you might die – that is not functional. I’m so glad Karissa made it and as of February 2016 is still sober. She deserves such a better life.
Official Synopsis: Karissa was always a talented cook – so much so, that her mother had one day hoped to pass the family diner down to her as a legacy. But Karissa’s life took a drastic turn when a close family friend fed her Oxycodone, and then ultimately made her a drug courier. From there Karissa was lost. Now, years of self-abuse, self-medication, and a severe addiction to heroin have left her volatile and desperate. Her family fears that if she does not heal from her violent past and the childhood she lost, she will never have the future she deserves.
Date Aired: April 2016
Interventionist: Sylvia (who rocked this one)
Season 14, Episode 11
Location: Roseville, California
Addiction: Meth and alcohol
What’s memorable: His meth-induced paranoia and psychosis, how much his friend Jessie loves him and would do for him, the bizarre, enfuriating intervention and the awesome followup. Ken was amazing in this one. And by amazing I mean “Good god how does he deal with this relentless abuse and keep his composure?”
Official Synopsis: The sons and nephew of Major League Baseball stars, David struggled not only with being compared to his athletic family, but also with his own sexuality. Acting out turned to alcoholism and meth addiciton, and it wasn’t long before David found himself dumpster diving and sleeping behind stores in his family’s upscale neighborhood.
Original Air Date: August 2015
Location: Fortuna, California
Addiction: Meth, Painkillers
What’s memorable: A lovable lady, this one, despite being pretty damn loopy. This is a very real and touching story, from Elena’s conflicts with her family over being a lesbian and the tragic loss of her partner, to the heartwarming and awesome followup. This is the first Intervention episode about an elderly meth addict.
Official Synopsis: Elena, 63, has no intentions of stopping her daily meth addiction, even though her children and grandchildren desperately want their adoring grandmother to get well.
Original Air Date: August 2012
Location: Osseo, Minnesota
Addiction: Alcohol, Meth, Marijuana
What’s memorable: How mean and angry she gets, her mother’s disgust at her being a lesbian, the overly supportive, enabling father, the very tense but ultimately successful intervention. I know she’s portrayed here as a real pisser, but I have a feeling Jessa’s a pretty awesome person in real life, especially after getting sober.
Official Synopsis: Jessa’s meth and alcohol addiction have caused her to hole up in the her parents’ basement, drinking and using drugs until she blacks out, punches walls, and even attempts suicide. An intervention is desperately needed before Jessa overdoses and dies right under her parents’ noses.
Original Air Date: February 2012
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
What’s memorable: The pain and abuse he suffered as a child, how delusional he is about how meth is affecting his life and what he thinks it does for him, the non-intervention, the icky and sad predilection toward incest-themed sexual encounters. “I’ve been anticipating the desires of adult males since I was 5 years old.” – Richard.
Official Synopsis: A 34-year-old gay man, Richard grew up knowing he was different and never feeling accepted. His stepfather disciplined him severely for his effeminate behavior. Today, Richard lives in subsidized housing and has done everything from dealing to prostituting himself to support his meth addiction. Richard’s family will have to make amends to him if they hope to get through to him.
Original Air Date: January 2012
Location: Southern California
Addiction: Alcohol, Bulimia
What’s memorable: How completely wasted he gets, how much he eats, what a brat he is, and how important a life in academia is to him.
Official Synopsis: Born into a mixed-race family in a predominantly white town, Asa struggled with low self-esteem and body image growing up. Classmates teased him because of his size, ethnicity, and effeminate manner. Desperate to loss weight, Asa became bulimic. He came out as a gay man at 19 and started using hard drugs and drinking heavily. For the past 10 years, Asa has been working towards his college degree. Being a medical science student, he understands how his eating disorder and alcoholism are affecting him, but he’s been unable to stop. His family now realizes that an intervention is their last chance to help Asa.
Original Air Date: July 2008
Addiction: Alcohol (vodka)
What’s Memorable: Chris and Shawn’s story absolutely breaks my heart. Chris was in so much pain over being treated as less-than because his partner is a man. What he wanted more than anything was for his relationship of 15 years to be recognized as a legitimate one and his family just couldn’t do it.
Note: Chris committed suicide while under the influence of alcohol. Read about it here.
Official synopsis: Born into a family with traditional Catholic values, Chris struggled with his sexuality until coming out at 18. Now, at 34, Chris feels that being gay has cheated him out of the things he wants most–marriage, children, and inclusion in his family. He drinks first thing in the morning to ward off tremors, he’s abusive to his partner, and he can’t keep a job. His father believes Chris should be able to stop drinking by sheer force of will, but his mother believes that genetics is to blame for his alcoholism. Can the family overcome its divisions and work together for Chris?
Original Air Date: February 2009
What’s Memorable: How sad he is that he got so big, the incredibly messed-up family dynamic, especially dealing with his father. The followups and Josh’s subsequent youtube videos that shed more light on his situation. Here’s the latest video I could find.
Note: Josh is in the “Homosexuality as possible addiction trigger” category because he came out after the episode aired. I don’t know for sure that being in the closet was a part of his overeating, but it certainly makes sense.
Official synopsis: Next, a talented singer and the owner of his own karaoke business, 22-year-old Josh is addicted to food and weighs 550 lbs. Josh’s father, Rex, has the same weight problem–at 317 lbs., he’s a diabetic who’s had six strokes. Now, Rex watches helplessly as Josh follows in his footsteps toward an early death. Josh’s mother and two brothers hope that an intervention will be a wake-up call for the whole family to choose health.
Original Air Date: January 2008
What’s Memorable: How humble and self-aware she is about how her meth addiction has affected her life. Her father being in denial of her being a lesbian and her whole family believing that she should get over it and have a relationship with a man and with God, that that would solve all of her problems. It’s all kind of tragic really, but Tressa is so strong and a total survivor. I really like her.
Official synopsis: Tressa, 32, attended college on a track and field scholarship and became one of the world’s top female shot-putters, earning a spot on the U.S. Olympic team. But Tressa’s dreams were shattered when a routine drug test revealed that she had been living a double life as an Olympic hopeful and an IV drug user. With her Olympic career in shambles, Tressa uses crystal meth daily as her life spirals out of control. Can her family step in and save Tressa before she loses not only her career, but her life?
Original Air Date: February 2008
Season 2, Episode 5
Location: Los Angeles, California
Addiction: Meth, sex
What’s memorable: Sex with 20 men in one night. His understanding that gay meth users don’t ask about condoms.
Official synopsis: After relocating to Los Angeles, Troy had a promising future until his recreational crystal methamphetamine usage escalated into a full-blown addiction. While high Troy reports to having had, “hundreds of homosexual encounters.” Now homeless and unemployed, he sells methamphetamine and claims that injecting crystal meth helps him stay alert, and survive on the streets. Long time friends sought Intervention’s help.
Original Air Date: January 2006
Season 2, Episode 2
Addicted to: Heroin
What’s memorable: The nodding off into the bathroom mirror. Man, that was horrifying. Also, her reaction to the intervention.
Official synopsis: Audrey, 24, was popular and artistic. Now, she is a heroin addict living on the streets. She has been an addict for 5 years and her family feels like the next time they will see her is going to be in a coffin. Her family plans an intervention to save her, if they can.
Original Air Date: November 2005
Addicted to: Sex, Meth
What is most memorable about this episode: Multiple middle of the night sex-line hookups, addiction to porn shop, sweet family in Vermont.
Official synopsis: Brian has a bad crystal meth habit. He is also a sex addict. Brian roams around the streets to find new partners every night.
Original Air Date: March 2005